Phillips instead saw a pitch he could handle, driving a two-run single into center field in the ninth inning to help the Cincinnati Reds overcome Jose Reyes' cycle in a 6-5 victory over New York on Wednesday night.
Wagner retired the first two batters easily but then walked Austin Kearns and pinch-hitter David Ross. Pinch-hitter Rich Aurilia reached on an infield single to third and Phillips followed with a sharp single to center.
"I just tried to hit the ball hard and drive it somewhere," Phillips said. "He threw me a fastball inside, a pitch high, another pitch high. If he threw me one more time a high pitch, I would've struck out."
Phillips took a strike, fouled one off and took another strike before he hit a lower fastball back up the middle to drive in Kearns and pinch-runner Quinton McCracken, putting the Reds in front 6-5. Wagner (3-1) blew his fourth save in 18 opportunities.
"I got two quick outs and then just tried to be aggressive and I was probably a little overly aggressive," he said. "By the time I got back into synch, it was too late. I couldn't make the pitch."
Reyes hit his fourth career leadoff homer to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He doubled in the second, tripled into right-center in the fifth and grounded a single into center field in the eighth.
The Shea Stadium crowd cheered wildly as Reyes stood on first in the eighth and the scoreboard in right-center recognized the accomplishment.
"It feels good for me but it would have felt even better if we had won that ballgame," Reyes said. "I still enjoy it but I would've liked to win that ballgame also."
The last player to hit for the cycle for the Mets was Eric Valent, who did it on July 29, 2004, in New York's 10-1 win over the Montreal Expos.
Reyes went 4-for-5 and is batting .489 (23-for-47) over his last 11 games.
"I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable at home plate," Reyes said.
Ken Griffey Jr. drove in three runs and Joe Mays pitched six strong innings in his first start in the National League for the Reds, whose shaky bullpen almost cost them again.
"That's what you call your classic giveaway game right there," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "(A) total giveaway."
Cincinnati led 4-2 in the seventh before the Mets pushed across three runs against Chris Hammond. David Wright singled in Carlos Beltran with two outs and Jose Valentin hit Hammond's next pitch over the wall in center field.
Valentin's fifth homer traveled an estimated 430 feet. He threw his right arm in the air as he rounded first base and acknowledged the crowd with a curtain call after reached the dugout.
Jason Standridge (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the win and Todd Coffey worked the ninth for his fifth save in six chances. The Reds, who had lost nine of their last 11 games, moved within four games of NL Central-leading St. Louis with the win.
"Every win is something to build on but it's a long season," manager Jerry Narron said. "You are going to have some ups and downs. I really believe we are going to be in this thing."
Ryan Freel went 3-for-5 and scored two runs for the Reds. He is 9-for-14 in the first three games of the series against the Mets, and is hitting .406 (28-for-69) in his last 20 games.
Freel led off the game with a dribbler down the third-base line. Wright charged it but threw over the head of first baseman Carlos Delgado, allowing Freel to take second. Felipe Lopez moved Freel to third with a sacrifice and Griffey hit a flyball to right to give the Reds a 1-0 lead.
Freel and Lopez scored on Griffey's double with one out in the third inning that made it 3-1. Mets right fielder Xavier Nady dove in right-center field to try to grab Griffey's hit but he couldn't catch up with the hard liner.
- Giants outfielder Randy Winn was the last major leaguer to hit for the cycle before Reyes. He did it in a 7-3 victory over the Reds on Aug. 15, 2005.
- Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson missed the game so he could attend his oldest son Sean's high school graduation. Bullpen coach Guy Conti helped fill in for Peterson, who will be back with the team on Thursday.
- Narron said he hopes to get 3B Edwin Encarnacion (sprained left ankle) back "in the next week or so." Encarnacion is eligible to come off the DL on Thursday.
- Mets LF Cliff Floyd (sprained left ankle) got some work in a pool on Tuesday and ran Wednesday. He is eligible to come off the DL on Thursday but Randolph said he isn't sure when he'll be activated. Randolph said he'll know more about when Floyd will return when the veteran gets some simulated game action.
- Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid and actor Tim Robbins were both in the Mets' clubhouse before the game.